by David Cain
“Hey, Trix, that you?”
“Yeah. It’s me.” A thin voice trickled up the staircase.
“C’mon up here. I want you to hear this.” Brian could hear the rattle of keys falling back into a purse, and then the sound of footsteps working their way slowly up the stairs. He stood in the doorway to his apartment, watching until her yellow hair came into his view. A young woman’s face surfaced, step by step, and Brian disappeared back through the doorway.
“Whatcha got?” The young woman stepped inside the dingy apartment. Brian picked up his battered telecaster, wrapped the strap around his neck, and fumbled at the neck to get hold of a white bit of plastic wedged between the strings. The pick strummed down slowly as Brian leaned over to flick a small black amp on.
Trix leaned against a faded yellow wall, between a ripped black and grey poster of T-Rex and a gutter-blue macrame wall-hanging with grooved wooden beads, six feet long and frayed on the left side, where scuffs on the wall behind betrayed a recurrent strafing. The young woman wore an oversized white t-shirt embroidered with a symmetric pattern of gold thread. The shirt ended at the widest part of her hips, where a black skirt picked up and then abruptly ended above her knees.
“I think I gotta tune for Mark’s eruption poem. I want you to tell me what you think before I play it for him.”
Trix nodded, assenting to their common understanding of the wisdom of the plan. Brian pushed in turn at four colored buttons above a keyboard, instructing the synth to lay out a solid drum beat.
“Dum de dah dum de dah dum dum,” muttered Brian under his breath, catching the rhythm with his head and hand. The pick struck the strings hard, while the fingers of his left hand coursed and then bent the thin wires over the frets. A raging river of music poured out of the tiny amp. Trix moved her head in accordance with the beat, letting it fill her ears and heart and hips.
“Yeah,” she shouted above the noise. “Let it go.”
The small blonde girl closed her eyes and her pretty face took on the appearance of a china doll, smooth and motionless. Her features looked almost fragile, delicate and perfect as though sculpted by someone with a penchant for details, deriving a heightened sense of beauty from their absolute proportion and placement. As Brian’s chords teased her heartbeat,
Trix thought about Mark, her man, the raging fucking poet and she lost herself in echoes of his words as she stood, absorbing the steady drone and splay of Brian’s incited guitar.
The music ended without warning with a wry sorry smile from Brian to let her know that the piece hadn’t quite matured to the point where it was really a complete song with an end. Trix opened the shades of her light blue eyes and smiled at Brian, nodding.
“Cool,” she said. “Do you think it’ll be what Mark wants?”
Brian pushed a long strand of loose hair out of his face. “I don’t know what he wants. He keeps telling me what he doesn’t want, but when I ask him what he does want, he gives me some of his ‘seeing devils in the woodwork’ shit.”
“It’s a good lick,” said Trix, “even if it isn’t what he wants.”
“Thanks,” said the tall guitarist with a quick smile as he placed his instrument back down on the rough plaid sofa leaning precariously against the wall.
“Good as he’ll get.”
“Thanks,” Brian replied softly without thinking, his brown eyes grazing hungrily on Trix, as if he had just noticed her, or perhaps as if he had finally run out of distractions which had prevented him from noticing her. He tried not to, but he thought about the outline of her brassiere underneath the white of her t-shirt, and the faded red-brown of lipstick which had been set in place a while back, and only just tinged her cupidic lips. He wiped the sweat from his palms on the thighs of his ratty blue jeans.
“There are some beers in the fridge,” he said.
“I’ll get them,” said Trix. He sat down on the floor as she turned to go into the kitchen. Brian tried not to think about her, but listened carefully to the sounds of her footsteps, the sound of the refrigerator being pulled open, the rattle of glass bottles and the slight pop of the caps as her footsteps brought her back. She handed him the brown bottle, and sat down across from him, on the wooden floor.
“Something’s come over him, Mark, I mean,” he said.
“I know,” Trix said suddenly, more loudly than she expected. “He’s been acting strange; like he’s crazed.”
“I don’t know if we should worry, or just go with it. I mean, the music’s never been better.”
“But it’s like we’re sucking the life out of him. He keeps raving, writing lyrics and screaming them out. The excitement is wild, but I don’t know how long he can keep this up, not without cracking.”
“When he comes home,” Trix said, but then she stopped, a crimson color brushing across her white face. She lowered her voice instinctively, provocatively. “He keeps coming after me, over and over, no matter how many times we do it, he’s looking to do it again. But I don’t even know if he knows its me he screwing. He and his hard-on just keep chasing me down.”
“Sounds like drugs,” said Brian. He lifted his beer and took a long drink.
“I don’t think so,” said Trix calmly, betraying the fact that she’d considered the possibility seriously. “I think he’s gone mad.” She tilted her bottle toward Brian with a coy grin. “Here’s to madness.” Their bottles touched and rang a dissonant bell.
“Well, he ain’t hurting nobody,” said Brian, “so I guess we’ll just keep an eye on him. I’d hate to lose the band just as things are taking off.” He paused to consider, and then said with concern, “He hasn’t been hurting you, has he?”
“No,” she replied, “he hasn’t hurt me. Sometimes I think he might; he scares me, sometimes. His intensity just won’t calm down, not even for a second, and he gets an idea and . . . like the other morning when he ripped my clothes off. He was in the other room, shouting couplets and then making sounds like an animal at the zoo, growling and panting, screaming, “All that love was meant to be!” and he came into the kitchen, where I sat. I was eating a bowl of flakes, sitting at the table in an old Cure t-shirt and these, I don’t know, boxers, I guess.” Trix gestured across her hips, where the shorts would have been. Brian tried not to blush as he imagined.
“Suddenly he was on me, his teeth hard against my throat – real bites, too, not just sexy nibbles but hard enough to make me instantly afraid. I yelped, and he bit into the collar of my shirt and he pulled at the cloth until it pressed hard against my neck, starting to choke me, and all of a sudden there was this tearing sound and the shirt turned to ribbons as he bit and clawed at it. My bowl of cereal went crashing onto the floor, and my coffee too, and I started hitting him on the ears and head with my hands, a little frightened and a little excited, and he pushed me up on the table and ripped my shorts right off my body in a single pull.”
“Wow,” said Brian under his breath.
“I know. I couldn’t believe it. I was scared, but then I . . . .” Trix blushed. Brian knew at once what she meant, for the musky aroma of her excitement suddenly assaulted his senses. Just telling the story had turned her on. Brian looked at once into Trix’s sky blue eyes, and caught a glimpse of the fire raging there before she turned them away, ashamed, her face flush with her arousal.
“Damn,” said Brian.
“It’s been like that for weeks, all the time.”
Brian watched her nipples harden through the double layer of clothing and underclothing, and every part of his psyche screamed for him to reach over and touch her, except that he knew the madness, Mark’s raging madness, would turn on him if he dared to release it that way, by tasting, by devouring the fruit of his best friend’s woman. He stretched his hand out involuntarily, reaching helplessly toward Trix, and with a burst of will, Brian found the guitar, his only friend, his only escape. He pulled the battered instrument into his throbbing lap.
His fingers slipped down the dull brown neck. Trix licked her lips, teasing him with a brief glimpse of her pink tongue, her fiery azure eyes cast down to escape the unspoken contemplations, studying her shoes or the pickups of his guitar. Brian wanted to kiss her, heat burning from his chest to his scarlet cheeks. He took a deep breath and let his eyes feast upon her for a tantalizing moment as he tickled the steel wound strings.
The song began again, dum de dah dum de dah dum dum, and Brian’s fingers began rapidly stroking the neck of the guitar with a fervor and intensity that couldn’t escape the lust he was trying to control. The music turned into him and roared faster and louder, caught in the thought of the red swollen sex of the pretty girl sitting cross-legged before him, still excited, still smoldering hot with her female beautiful fucking power,and the chords climbed and with each strum and flex he imagined and supposed and wondered and pictured and felt and held and kissed and entered and in and above and over and over and over, and in the heat of aching desire, Brian’s music exploded, loving Trix.
“Yes,” screamed a voice from below, “Yes.” Mark’s deep voice grew as he mounted the stairs, four at a time, rushing into the room where Trix watched Brian play. Piercing twilight eyes opened wide to see the music.
“That’s it!” Mark cried and waited for the cycle to return so he could scream out in a new found chorus; “Eruption!!”